Christopher and I had only seen it from Route 2, so we took the opportunity of showing my aunt around the area to see it up close via a hike through the park.
The statue, also known as the Black Hawk statue, was created by Lorado Taft in 1908. Taft was the founder of an arts colony of Chicago painters, sculptors, poets, architects and other artists, who summered in the area that now is the state park from the turn of the century to the early 1940s. The majority of the statue is hollow; only the head and shoulders of the chief are solid concrete. It is said to be the second largest concrete monolithic statue in the world.
The statue stands 125 feet above the Rock River, and the bluff on which it is perched offers a beautiful view of the area.
Lowden State Park is among the most picturesque spots in the Sauk Valley.
Christopher and I got a taste of the area during the Run-A-Muck in July, so we wanted to “hike” through the park while we were there.
The park sits on more than 200 acres and is named for a former governor. It was founded only a few years after the art colony vacated the land. It offers camping, picnicking and fishing, as well as almost 4 miles of good foot trails through the woods.
We walked some of the Black Hawk Trail and some of the Heckman Trail, for maybe about a mile total. We navigated some steep grades, where crude stairs had eroded away, and plowed through some narrow paths, where bushes and trees crowded the walkway. We all enjoyed the scenery (We even stumbled upon three turkeys!), and Dexter loved the nature walk.
We hope to do a lot more exploring this fall, as we’ll be done spending Saturdays in the garden and Sundays on long runs.